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ON LEVICK AND PRESIDENT GOODLUCK'S IMAGE LAUNDERING

 
President Goodluck Jonathan                 
 
                Chido Nwakanma, President, PRCAN
 
 
 
You may please forgive my inglorious pessimism. But I am wondering how a PR campaign do widely publicised can expect to hit with the desired impact in a country where nearly all 170m stakeholders are now aware of the fact {through the same means} that the PR is intended for the same {image laundering} purpose and objective.
 
Are you lost? Well so am I
I believe in Public Relations as a combined toolkit of actions generated towards the target audience in such a way that the receiver imbibes the intention of the action without noticing the motive. That craft of having its way without the target noticing it is the beauty! In other words, the objective is only known both to the client and the consulting PR agency.
 
In my view therefore, when the cooking pot of PR leaves the agency and then roots itself in public domain, then replace the 'R' with 'Rendezvous'.
 
This makes me find the task of professionals at LEVICK Communications Trust quite humongous. In fact, LEVICK must possess extraordinary creative power of supernatural thinking to be able to craft effective message strategy that will ensure the intended message is decoded appropriately by 170m receivers (minus those who are deluding themselves in Mr President's bandwagon in that order).
 
And more importantly, (or I may have momentarily lost my sense of logical reasoning), God himself might be required to come down in form of the message, to change the minds of these seemingly ultrasonically aware Targets and get them to ultimately do the damning: Vote Mr President in on a third term journey (Oh Sorry, a second and a half one)
 
In the wake of public outcry against the process and procedures that brought them into full glare, in LEVICK's shoes, I would just resign the account and head straight back home. But then humans are all the same regardless of colour, race or creed.
 
And don't we all fall prey of superiority call when calibrating integrity levels which we often mentally do in favour Organisations abroad? Whereas in truth everyone has the propensity of fighting dirty, feeding dirty and living dirty in a world governed by 'Dirty' - All you need do is throw in MONEY. And 'Dirty' itself becomes a relative term depending on who is making the call and which side of the Atlantic you hail from - A matter for another day.
 
The integrity levels of those 'people' and their organisations that we hold in so high esteem have been tested and have failed time and time again: We have heard of agency affiliations gone awfully bad to the point of involving the courts for interpretation of agreement. It is no longer news, though we tend to sweep these things under the carpet as we are not directly involved. The realities stare us in the face and are there mocking us to scorn, tugging hard at our fabric of corporate existence.
 
THE INTERNAL DISORDER
I read a brilliant article yesterday written by Chike Ofili. He highlighted how the 'dog eats dog' attitude within the Nigerian marketing communication industry caught the attention of global companies operating in the country, right at their start line. According to him, the companies have since poached the finest of the industry's marketing communications experts, leaving the agency world almost completely stranded and now almost bereft of ideas.
 
What he did not mention was that the Marketing communications agencies themselves were quite happy that 'one of them' was actually 'crossing over' to client side. To them, the exiting staff would enable them get a foot in the door of the client's business. This was mostly the case. And soon the client's business then begins to suffer on the alter of compromise and lack of competition. A few cases where the erstwhile staff stands professional ground and either occasionally calls for a pitch, or sacks the agancy for non-performance, then foul play is called.
 
These short term gains have robbed Nigeria's marketing communications industry its glorious place in the global setting. Just look around! With most practitioners seeking quick gains without consideration for the industry nor overall impact assessment of business decisions thereof, they have defined our collective as a misfit and 'No-gooders'.
 
The insanity of hiring LEVICK kicked to a corner, does the Nigerian PR trade have the professional representation to attract such business? Part of PR functions is Legislative lobbying, suggesting that Top PR professionals within the industry seek to influence government policies so that they directly profit client businesses or indirectly meander them to boost environmental advantage. How have the collective of the PR industry harnessed the opportunity to advance the course of the industry in respective areas?
 
How has NIPR or its executive membership used its association with government functionaries to legitimately formulate rules and present a strong position to govern the democratisation of government briefs as part of government's support for local content?
 
Why has the collective failed to come up with a reasonable mandatory 'Buy made in Nigeria' proposal and robustly enlist the support of the government, indirectly binding them to the same agreement?
 
Have we been too busy with clients' interests to bother with the overall interest of the industry that produced us? Developing a myopic condition now so counter-productive that it threatens to swallow us all up?
 
Ayoola Adeyanju
Ayoola Adeyanju
TIME TO ACT?
Oh yes, Physician heal thyself. Charity begins from home. An industry that has failed to fledge to the point of regional management buy-outs in spite of all the bravados and years of existence, deserves no respect from local clients - That seems to be what GEJ is saying. And so if it cannot muster respect from local clients, it therefore follows that global ones will look for results outside (and Mr President may be right from that brand positioning perspective).
 
Consequently, a foreign marketing communications agency - knowing full well that a brief emanating from Nigeria requires well grounded insider insight - is faced with a simple business decision: shop for a (Marcomms) agency within Nigeria to provide the insight and do the job - another Affliation! A monstrous vicious cycle.
 
If any of us still wonders why we are here in this state of Zero self esteem, look no further. We sold ourselves into it.
 
Now are we going to grow outwards and expand; or continue to grow inwards? And shrink.
 
Ayoola Adeyanju contributed this piece from Manchester, UK. Leave your comment in the box below.